The New Zealand men's basketballers have lost the first Test of Oceania Championship in Sydney where Australia came from behind to win 84-77.
The Tall Blacks led Australia going into the final quarter before the Boomers' Joe Ingles scored 10 straight points to finish with a game-high 26 points.
Captain and shooting guard Kirk Penney top-scored for New Zealand with 23 points but was held to seven in the second half as he drew increasing attention from the Australian defenders.
Centre Alex Pledger, who finished with 16 points, says while the Tall Blacks put up a good fight and battled hard they didn't close out the game when they were leading going into the last quarter and they can't be happy with that.
Australia led by 12 points in the final two minutes, but baskets from Penney, Lindsay Tait and a long three from Corey Webster got New Zealand back within seven points.
That could prove crucial in game two in Wellington on Tuesday night because if the two-game series finishes tied at 1-1, it will be decided on points differential.